Danielle McCarthy

Retirement Life

War widow kicked out of home after 20 years

War widow kicked out of home after 20 years

A war widow has been left to fend for herself after being told that she was getting kicked out of the apartment she had lived in for 20 years.

Up until a year ago, Ila Harvey lived in a small, low-rise complex owned by the War Widows Guild at Drummoyne, in Sydney’s inner-west.

When Ila lost her soldier husband, who had served on the Kokoda Track and at Milne Bay in New Guinea, she found herself friends in her local area and hobbies that kept her busy. 

However, this time last year, she was told the complex was being sold because the Guild had run out of funds, and the sale would help better serve the Guild’s four thousand members.

Ila said the Guild suggested she move to a nursing home, but she felt there was still plenty of living to do, reported Nine News.  

After contacting a nearby MP, Ila and her family members started lobbying for support from the government.

Her situation was eventually passed on to the Better Regulations Minister Matt Kean, who made an interesting discovery.

Mr Kean found that under the Retirement Villages Act, the Guild was obliged to provide Ila with support to find similar accommodation.

However, as the Guild have sold seven similar properties in their possession since 2002, the chances of her finding accommodation were slim.

But, when the NSW branch of the RSL heard her story, they stepped in to help the widow.

A new place in Cherrybrook was found for Ila through its aged accommodation arm RSL Life Care and state president James Brown.

After months of uncertainty, Ila is celebrating her new home with the people who helped her get it. 

Meanwhile, the Guild wrestles with what to do with their Drummoyne site after Canada Bay Council’s independent planning and assessment panel rejected the proposal to demolish Ila’s old complex.